the last rosé of summer…

October 14, 2007

Nope, not a reference to ninteenth-century Irish poetry. I really did have my last rosé of the year this week. And to close the season, I was lucky enough to enjoy an excellent (and big) Bordeaux rosé.

Chateau Phelan-Segeur Rosé (2005) 

The Chateau Phelan-Segeur (2005) arrived in the house some time ago, but for various reasons, I didn’t get around to enjoying it until this week. Luckily, the weather shifted and we’ve been enjoying some beautiful warm autumn weather so it seemed like a good time to enjoy this wine before it faded (I don’t like to keep rosés more than one or two years past their vintage date).

In the glass, it showed an almost salmon-pink colour. The nose was pure strawberry and this followed through in the mouth. It had a big mouthfeel and showed off a lot more tannins then than I had expected. Fine on its own, but even better with food. I had it with a curried butternut squash soup and it was perfect. I saved a tiny bit in my glass for the main course (BBQ Manitoba lamb sirloin) and it was also perfect. For $26ish (at the Kenaston Wine Market) this is an example of just how good French rosé can be.

Apparently the term “claret” comes from the French word for pale (clairet), so according to the folks at Cask 79, I was drinking a real claret, as opposed to the current meaning of the word. Whatever you want to call it, the Chateau Phelan-Segur was good and that’s all that counts. And for interest’s sake, the chateau itself is a Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel from St. Estèphe at the northern end of the Haut-Medoc.

 Rive Haute Merlot-Tannat (2006) 

Keeping with the French wine theme, I noticed a new line at the MLCC this week. Two new French wines under the Rive Haute label had appeared on the shelves; a Merlot-Tannat blend and a Colombard-Sauvignon. Both were from Gascony, a region typically known around here for brandy (Armagnac) rather than table wine.  I had tried an excellent Merlot-Tannat from a neighbouring region earlier in the summer, so I thought I’d give this new MLCC listing ($11.05) a try.

I was a little disappointed at first. When I opened it (Stelvin closure – nice touch), the wine showed off a nice dark purple colour, and had a great nose (a bit of earth and tonnes of fruit). But in the mouth it was so light and unstructured that I didn’t really enjoy it. I figured that it was best served chilled on a really hot and humid summer day, not on a crisp fall evening. So I chalked this one up under the “disappointing” column.

Much to my surprise, on the second day it was a totally different wine. The wimpy fruit flavours had stepped back a bit, to be replaced by hints of earth and spice (and even a few tannins). It was still light, but there was a richness and depth that wasn’t there on the first day. I was really surprised and impressed, and I will try this again. If you’re going to try it, open it the day before you serve it. Let the Merlot fade and you’ll see the Tannat come out to play.


  1. Dear Mr. Wine in the ‘Peg..
    we know that you are busy, but we miss your entries! Please share more with us…
    Sincerely, a Fan

  2. G-Mail…

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